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Can I stain knotty pine paneling?

Posted by karenjane (My Page) on
Sat, Oct 25, 08 at 22:06

Our basement has the original knotty pine T&G paneling (from the 1950's) halfway up the walls. It has turned almost orange and it looks very dated; I would like to stain it transparent black. I was told a gel-stain was the best way, but I cannot find an ebony gel-stain. Should I sand off the old varnish or shellac? Is there something else I can use to achieve this? Any suggestions to make it look better? I would even like to make it lighter, if possible. My husband does not want to paint.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Can I stain knotty pine paneling?

The orange color is likely the natural patina that has developed in the wood and finish in the last 50 years. (My parents had knotty pine wainscoting in the 1954 house I grew up in.)

You have lots of options:

1. Paint. Yes, you can paint it. Clean it thoroughly, scuff sand to dull the surface. Use a shellac-based primer, such as B-I-N to prevent knot resin bleed-through. Then paint to your choice of color.

2. Strip and refinish. This sounds like a lot of work, but is the way to get back to clean wood. Lightly sand, stain, and finish. Yes, good gel stains are a choice for pine as it tends to blotch (absorb the stain unevenly).

Trying to "sand off the old finish" is not a good way to go. It is terribly labor intensive and will not do a thorough job removing the finish. This will complicate your efforts to get an even stain.

3. Neutralize the orange color. A good way to do this is with a glaze. You can get specific products called glazes, or you can use a gel stain. Orange's color opposite is blue. So a blue, or blue-ish, glaze will move the color toward brown. Or yes, you could use a black (ebony) gel stain, but the orange undertone will remain.


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RE: Can I stain knotty pine paneling?

If we use a glaze (bluish) to neutralize the orange knotty pine, should we sand lightly or just apply the glaze over the existing finish? Or should we clean the paneling with mineral spirits or some other solvent? Do we put a finish over the glaze? Can you please be specific, as I have never done this before.
Thank you for your help.


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RE: Can I stain knotty pine paneling?

Yes, you want a clean and dull base for your glaze. Clean with Dawn and water, then wipe with mineral spirits or naphtha.

Once you've selected and applied your glaze, let it dry thoroughly (a day or two). Then apply a top coat of varnish or finish of your choice.


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RE: Can I stain knotty pine paneling?

Thank you for the advice on staining pine. I have a pine curio cabinet that I got from an unfinished furniture store years ago for a former country kitchen. I sprayed it with clear shellac. Now I want it to be darker. I am researching what type of prep and stain to use.

If you are looking for an ebony stain, you may like the Spanish Oak gel (or other) stain from Old Masters. They sell it at my local Benjamin Moore store (and others, I assume). I got a small tin of it last week. It looks like melted licorice and is a true black. My sample takes a while to dry, but I like it so far.

I am new to refinishing furniture. I finally have space to refinish the mid century pieces I have been collecting. I am not recommending any particular stain for your project, just commenting on the color.


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